Tagged: female authorship

New Finding Aid | Paula Gunn Allen papers

Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to announce a newly published finding aid for the Paula Gunn Allen papers (Coll 519). The finding aid is available on Archives West.

Publicity photo of Gunn and publishing contract
Publicity photo of Gunn and publishing contract, Paula Gunn Allen papers, Coll 519, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Paula Gunn Allen (1939-2008) was a Native American author, literary critic, activist, and scholar known for her contributions to American Indian studies and the nascent field of Indigenous feminism. She was also a founding leader in the contemporary women’s spirituality movement.

The collection documents Allen’s career as a poet, novelist, essayist, literary critic, and educator. The papers include manuscripts and supplementary material for the following published books: Grandmothers of the LightThe Woman Who Owned the ShadowsOff the ReservationSpider Woman’s GranddaughtersSong of the TurtleThe Sacred HoopAs Long as the Rivers Flow, and Skins and Bones. Other manuscripts include a collection of “haggles,” or short essays, screenplays, prefatory material, and unpublished works.

The collection also includes instructional material created by Allen including lecture transcripts, notes, diagrams, and handouts for workshops and seminars led by Paula Gunn Allen in Seattle and the Bay Area between 1984 and 1987. The subjects of these workshops include comparative spirituality, shamanic writing, and Rainbow Warriors. The collection also includes audio recordings of “haggles” and workshops, which require advance notice for use and the production of listening copies.

New Acquisition: La Chymie Charitable et Facile en Faveur des Dames, 1687

Engraving showing a robed woman pulling back a curtain to show books and vessels.
[Frontispiece, QD14 .M48 1674, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.]
Special Collections and University Archives has recently acquired a copy of La Chymie Charitable et Facile en Faveur des Dames (Free and Easy Chemistry for Ladies), a treatise by French chemist and alchemist Marie Meurdrac (c. 1610-1680).
Meurdrac’s La Chymie is a notable work in the history of early modern science and is especially noteworthy as a contribution by a woman in the field. The text was first published in 1656 in Paris and subsequently published in five more French editions and translated into German and Italian. SCUA’s copy is one of the third edition printed in 1687, which is the first edition to contain an illustrated frontispiece depicting a Classically-robed woman theatrically pulling back a curtain to reveal books and vessels associated with chemical experimentation.

Classification of La Chymie’s genre has been actively debated and negotiated by twentieth-century scholars. The text addresses (1) principles and operations, vessels, lutes, furnaces, characteristics and weights, (2) medical herbs and medicines made from such plants, (3) animals, (4) metals, (5) making compound medicines, and (6) methods of preserving and increasing beauty for women. It primarily describes the language, equipment, recipes, and processes of alchemy, including a fold-out plate depicting a reference table of alchemical symbols (pictured below). These processes are also related to early modern chemistry, and recent interrogations of the boundaries of historical disciplines has allowed scholars to consider the work as an amalgamation of early modern genres including recipe or “receipt” books, medical cookery, alchemy, chemistry, and medicine (Feinstein, 2009).

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